Do You Need Large Bird Feeders? Different Feeders for Common Backyard Birds
Do you dream of sitting in your back yard with a pair of binoculars, watching different bird species visit throughout the day?
The right bird feeder can make all the difference! Choose wisely, and you’ll enjoy the company of songbirds, cardinals, finches, and more. The kind of bird feeder you buy matters, as does the size and material used to create it.
As you begin your research, you’ll quickly find that there are many different options on the market. Should you invest in a few large bird feeders to place around your property? What about a plastic bird feeder or a wooden bird feeder?
You can find all of these selections and more in our online shop. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the different kinds of bird feeders we offer, so you can understand exactly how to choose the best one for your needs.
Why Does Bird Feeder Design Matter?
To the uninitiated, it might seem as though any standard bird feeder would be enough to attract plenty of birds to your yard. After all, they’re each designed to serve the same general purpose, right?
Not quite! Each species of bird has its own special feeding method and preferred types of food. That said, there are some general similarities that all high-quality bird feeders should possess. Any model that you choose should be:
- Well-built and weather-resistant
- Tight and secure enough to keep the seeds dry
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to clean and maintain
Once you’re sure that the feeders you’re eyeing have these qualities in common, you can begin to narrow your selection by the type of species you wish to attract. Of course, you can always purchase multiple types to accommodate a wide variety!
Ultimately, there are many species that will favor one particular type of bird feeder over another. Next, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common designs, along with the feathered friends you can expect to see when you install them in your yard.
Are you enchanted by nectar-loving birds? If so, a premium hummingbird feeder is a must-have addition to your landscape design!
The best-sized feeders for this use are ones that the birds in your yard can empty in a couple of days to about one week. The sugar water they drink shouldn’t be left to sit stagnant for much longer than this, as it can harbor mold and bacteria. If you live in a particularly hot climate, you’ll need to change the sugar water daily to keep it fresh. To extend the life of your sugar water solution, try this wildlife-safe micronutrient, Nectar Defender.
Most hummingbird feeders feature a bottle or tube-shaped design, made of either glass or plastic. Most of the time, you’ll find designs that include ornamental or functional add-ons near the feeding ports, including bee guards to keep out unwanted insects.
For inspiration, check out our 16-ounce Clean Hummingbird Feeder. Red with red or yellow flowers, it’s a show-stopper and instant conversation piece. It’s also one of the best-performing feeders on the market and is entirely dishwasher safe!
Love the idea of birdwatching but want to stay comfortably indoors while you partake in the hobby? If so, a window-mount bird feeder is ideal.
These are usually small, plastic feeders that attach easily to your window via suction cups. These are lightweight and commonly clear. A great example is our Observer Window Feeder, which is made of UV stabilized polycarbonate and won’t yellow over time.
In addition, you can also browse our Melody Window Mount Recycled Feeder. Attaching to your window with three sturdy suction cups, it’s made from recycled plastic and includes a removable perforated tray to allow drainage and enable easy cleaning.
You can also find some window-mount feeders that include hooks meant to attach directly to your window frame. All of these do a great job of attracting smaller birds, including chickadees, finches, titmice, and sparrows.
If you choose a window-mount feeder, make sure to change the food daily and clean the feeder regularly, as most birds will stand on the seeds while they eat, which can contaminate the food. Thankfully, these are among some of the easiest to maintain!
Are you interested in attracting ground-feeding birds, such as doves, cardinals, and juncos? In addition to these species, tray feeders also attract a variety of native sparrows.
As its name implies, this type of feeder is designed as a shallow tray. If you go this route, look for one that has a screen on the bottom, rather than a solid surface. This can help encourage drainage, as tray feeders typically do not offer a great deal of protection against precipitation, and seeds can become wet, if they aren’t changed regularly.
Our Small Window Mount Tray Feeder is a great place to start. This feeder attaches to your window with four suction cups and features a perforated tray floor for excellent drainage and quick maintenance.
We also offer other varieties of tray feeders, including our Hanging Tray Recycled Feeder. To use this model, you just need to hang the feeder from a pole or tree branch and add your birdseed. Then, you can sit back and watch the birds come!
Interested in a tray feeder made from wood materials? Our Hanging Tray Feeder-Cedar is ideal. Made in the United States from high-grade cedar wood, it’s removable metal tray is great for quick and easy cleanups.
If you prefer to attract ground-feeding birds and provide protection from the elements and flying predators, try our Ground Tray Recycled Feeder With Roof. Meant to sit on the ground, this feeder is best-suited for certain species that enjoy this method of feeding, including:
When setting up your ground feeder, look for one that includes a removable tray that allows for easy cleanup. Ours is made of perforated metal and facilitates drainage, too. The integrated roof is an excellent addition that protects both the birds and their seeds.
Many insect-eating birds prefer to consume food made of suet, or beef fat. Some of the most common species that enjoy suet include:
There are many different types of suet feeders on the market, and most are made of some form of plastic-coated mesh or wire mesh. In fact, some people choose to make their own suet feeders at home by using a mesh onion bag! You can suspend these feeders, affix them to a tree trunk, or attach them to a hopper feeder depending on your preference.
While DIY solutions can work, it’s always best to trust your setup to the professionals. A sturdy suet feeder will last for years and keep other intruders out, providing ample food for your perching pals.
If you want to keep your suet protected and out of the reach of larger bird species (such as starlings and grackles), consider using our Suet Saver Feeder! Equipped with a wire cover and chain to hang, you’ll only need to add suet or seed cake, and you’re done!
The unique design of this feeder helps your suet last at least 1,000 times longer! Only opening at the bottom, it requires birds to hang upside down as they feed. This discourages larger birds from visiting, as well as any species that might have a difficult time perching in that position.
In addition to our Suet Saver Feeder, we also offer many other kinds of suet feeders in our online shop, such as our Deluxe Double Suet Cage with Copper Roof! This bird feeder holds two standard-size suet cakes or seed cakes, with an electroplated roof that offers unmatched weather protection.
In addition, we also offer other sizes, including our Large Wire Feeder, which is ideal for all bird species and can hold even the largest suet or seed cake. You can shop our full collection of suet feeders here.
There’s no denying that squirrels are pretty adorable creatures. Yet, they become decidedly less so when they insist on invading your perfectly good bird feeder!
While there are some feeders designed to accommodate these innocent thieves, you can also find models that include features to keep them at bay. One is our Squirrel Buster Mini, which is highlighted as the most affordable squirrel buster feeder ever offered!
With a dual clinging and perching surface that songbirds love, this feeder is adored by birdwatchers all over. The weight-sensitive shroud descends and closes off the feeding ports when squirrels put their full body weight on the outside of the feeder. Its negative grip tube helps keep adult gray and red squirrels from gaining access to the seed. With this design, they’re unable to hang by their hind legs to feed.
We also offer other squirrel-proof feeder accessories, including our Squirrel Proof Spring Device (Slinky). This slinky hangs easily on shepherd’s hooks or poles that are up to one inch in diameter.
Of course, when you want to cater to your bushy-tailed friends, we make it easy to do that, too! Our Mr. Squirrel Recycled Feeder includes a screw that allows you to attach one ear of corn. If you can distract these critters in this way, they may be less likely to invade your bird feeders!
Hopper feeders hold bird seed in an enclosed container, dispersing it into a tray at the bottom. As birds eat the seed, the container replenishes the stash thanks to simple gravity.
You may also see these described as “house feeders,” becauses the container is usually covered with a roof, giving it the appearance of a home! This type of feeder is easy to refill and works well to keep bird seed fresh, dry, and protected from the elements. Many feeder birds, from jays and finches to cardinals and chickadees, love to visit hopper feeders.
Our Oasis Recycled Bird Feeder is a great example!
One of our most popular feeders, it’s hand-crafted from recycled plastic and designed to last a lifetime. This model also features extra-large trays, so even ground-feeding birds like cardinals can perch and enjoy a quick meal! The perforated floor allows for excellent water drainage, while the removable tray bottoms and windows are a cinch to clean.
Hollow Tube Feeders
Hollow tube feeders can work well to keep your seed clean and dry. Most models are also fairly resistant to squirrels, although some desperate ones have been known to chew through the end caps of the tube or even the tube itself!
To remedy this issue, consider investing in a super sturdy one, such as our Copper Spiral Nyjer Feeder. Nyjer feeders are a special type of tube feeder, made to accommodate tiny nyjer seeds, commonly referred to as thistle.
Made with aluminum and stainless steel parts, our Copper Spiral Nyjer Feeder is filled with plenty of ports to invite as many birds as possible to perch and feed. The 2.5-quart capacity feeder is also squirrel-proof and comes with our patented locking lid. If you have desperate tube chewers, though, use a baffle.
While many bird species, such as jays and grackles, are too large for tube-style feeders, you should be able to attract lots of smaller species, including:
- Finches and Goldfinches
- Pine Siskins
- Common Redpolls
If you do want to attract larger species, such as cardinals or grosbeaks, you can add our 7.5-inch Seed Tray onto the Spiral Seed Feeder. This clear, screw-on tray provides additional perching area, while helping to keep your deck and yard mess-free.
What makes hollow tube feeders so appealing? They come equipped with landing spots, or perches, that enable birds to rest comfortably while enjoying their meal! If the feeder’s perches are located above its feeding ports, seed-eating birds can even feed while hanging upside down!
To keep your birdseed as fresh as possible, look for one like ours that includes a bottom fill or flip ‘n’ fill option. This way, you can flip the feeder upside down when little seed is remaining, fill from the bottom, and keep old seed on top where it will be consumed first, so your seed never sits for too long.
Cleaning out your Nyjer feeder and feeling alarmed as you look below? If you notice what looks like a heap of wasted seeds, take heart! You’re most likely looking at the outer, black portion of the nyjer seed. This is the shell, which finches will cut through to extract the smaller seed inside!
Thistle Sock Feeders
In addition to nyjer feeders, you can also use thistle seed in thistle “socks” or thistle sacks. These feeders are soft, fine-mesh bags made of a strong nylon fabric that you can fill with thistle and hang outdoors. Birds then attach themselves to the sock by perching onto the mesh, clinging to it while they extract the seeds with their beaks.
As you can imagine, these types of sock feeders offer little to no protection against rain or other forms of inclement weather and chewing squirrels. As such, it’s only recommended to fill them full of thistle when you know that you’ll have enough finches or other seed-eating birds to empty the feeder in a few days and are using a squirrel baffle.
Our Thistle Sack-Yellow Floral Pattern will make a beautiful addition to any back yard. Hanging easily from a shepherd’s hook, S hook or feeding station, it holds an incredible three pounds of thistle that will attract tons of finches to your outdoor space. The magnitude of this feeder accommodates up to 10 birds at one time!
Looking for a fun and festive gift for the holiday season? We also offer a Jumbo Holiday Thistle Sack! Built in the shape of a stocking, this nylon feeder will look great in your yard over the winter months. Featuring a Velcro seal for easy top access, it’s as sturdy and long-lasting as it is joyous!
Peanuts are some of the most economical and delicious types of bird foods around. There are many kinds of birds that love to munch on them, such as:
- Northern cardinals
While some standard bird feeders can also hold peanuts, it’s often easier to use a specific peanut feeder made just for this purpose.
We offer a few different ones in our shop, including this Whole Peanut Feeder. Made from polywood, the sturdy feeder also includes stainless steel fasteners and a convenient hanger. Also made from recycled plastic, our Recycled Acorn Peanut Feeder is a cute way to offer peanut splits.
If you prefer to use peanut butter rather than whole peanuts or splits, you can do so with our Peanut Butter Jar Feeder. To use this one, you simply insert a jar of peanut butter and find the perfect hanging spot!
There are many beautiful, colorful fruit-eating birds that prefer juicy fruits over seeds or other types of bird food. A few of the most common ones include:
To attract these birds, it isn’t enough to simply leave a few pieces of fruit in your back yard. You need a way to elevate the fruit and keep it away from pesky predators!
These are usually metal or plastic hooks that hang from tree branches, with lower, protruding hooks underneath designed to hold pieces of fruit. As an example, take a look at the Fruit Feeder in our shop.
The four lower prongs on this feeder easily hold grapes, orange, or other fruits. If you do want to feed the nearby squirrels, they’re also strong enough to hold one ear of corn each!
In addition to this basic model, we also offer other types of fruit feeders, including our Fruit Bowl With Clear Top Recycled Hanging Feeder. Designed primarily for orioles, this feeder includes a glass bowl insert, as well as a Plexiglas roof and sides made of recycled plastic. Inside the glass bowl, you can leave pieces of your favorite fruit or fruit-flavored jelly!
If you want to mount your fruit feeder to the window, try our Window Mount Fruit Bowl Recycled Feeder!
Large Bird Feeders
We’ve already shared a few bird feeders designed with large bird species in mind. However, you might simply need a large bird feeder, because you want to attract a large quantity of birds!
In this case, the quantity that your feeder can hold is essential. One of our largest models is the Dr. JB Switchable Jar, which is available in a 32-ounce version as well as a 48-ounce and even an 80-ounce one!
This is an exclusive hummingbird feeder system that allows you to keep up with even the quickest-growing backyard hummingbird population. Instead of switching your feeder out multiple times per day, you can simply switch out your current jar with a larger volume jar, which offers less work and more enjoyment!
As long as you have the Dr. JB Hummingbird Feeder base, you can adjust the jar size as needed to meet your needs. While the original version holds 16 ounces, these larger styles are even easier to keep up with and maintain. Built from heavy-duty, high-grade plastic, they’re stronger than glass and unbreakable, destined to become mainstays in your back yard for years.
Looking for a bright, beautiful solution to feed a large number of birds on your property? Consider linking a few of our Mosaic Birds Hummble Bold Bird Feeders together! These minimalist, circular feeders are made of metal and recycled glass and are available in a variety of gorgeous colors.
The inner bowl is designed without drainage and is ideal for even the smallest types of bird food, including suet pellets, mealworms, sunflower seeds, and jelly. The feeder also includes a surrounding perch, so birds can rest in between feedings. The Hummble Bold Bird Feeders can attract many different kinds of birds depending on the season and climate, including:
Stunning on their own, these feeders become high-capacity when linked together in a vertical formation!
Finally, you may also need a larger bird feeder to accommodate the taller birds and birds that prefer more perching room, including jays, larger woodpeckers, and cardinals. To encourage visits to your back yard or patio, try installing large-trayed and multi-food type feeders, such as the Mini Magnet Recycled Feeder and the Classic Deluxe Feeder.
With extra-roomy trays and holders for peanut splits and suet, these larger hopper feeders are well-built for almost any bird species and make gorgeous additions to any landscape design.
Attract All Kinds of Birds with the Right Feeders
You don’t have to have a degree in ornithology or a special background in birdwatching to understand which feeders are best for which species.
Whether you want to attract songbirds, cardinals, orioles or any other kind of bird to your home, the right feeder can help you get there. From large bird feeders to suet feeders and every model in between, there’s a product out there that can easily maximize your viewing potential. For more information about bird feed and feeder types, check out our YouTube Channel!
If you have any questions about which type of feeder to buy, we encourage you to reach out to our knowledgeable team. In the meantime, feel free to keep shopping. You just might find your new favorite feeder!